A bigamist minister born in Memphis is now free from prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

A bigamist minister born in Memphis is now free from prison

A traveling minister who served two years in prison on bigamy charges has been released from custody and says he will issue an apology to his eight wives.

Bishop Anthony Owens, whose wives include three Tennessee women including one from Memphis, said he has been rehabilitated and plans to divorce the women and begin a new life after leaving Wheeler Correctional Facility in south Georgia on Saturday. "I know that what I did was wrong," Owens said. "I have apologized to them in as many ways as I know how. And still I plan to apologize again."

According to police reports, Owens' first marriage was in 1990 in Memphis, Tenn., Owens' birthplace. At the age of 18, he married 43-year-old Joanna Hill. He said the marriage was troubled from the start and that a misunderstanding of Mormon teachings led him to marry 41-year-old Earleen Mabien in 1992, even though he was still married to his first wife. After Earleen, Owens married Queenie Sanders in South Carolina in 1995. Then Valerie Brown in Alabama in 1997. Then Mattie Noland in 1999, also in Alabama. Then Paulette Miller-Owens in 2001 back in Tennessee. Then Shirley Rhodes 11 months later in the same Tennessee county. And, finally, Gwen Robinson of Duluth in 2002. During their marriage, Robinson learned about the other wives and called Gwinnett County police. Owens said he did divorce some of the wives, but he can't remember which ones. One of his wives said she will forgive Owens, but she will never forget. "I am a Christian so I have to forgive him," said Robinson, the Duluth wife who helped put Owens in prison. "But I do not believe he is rehabilitated. He will say the right things right now because that is what con men ... do. But give it six months, and he'll be back on the run conning people." Though he has vowed to sign a stack of divorce papers, Owens said there is one divorce paper he does not want to sign. "There is a wife that I still want to stay with," Owens said. "I really don't want to say it for the newspaper, but she knows who she is." He also said he is not a con man. "I made mistakes, but I am still a man of God," Owens said.

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